Volcanic ash rains down in Boyolali again
By Ganug Nugroho Adi
Two phreatic eruptions that occurred at Mount Merapi in Central Java on Friday night have again covered the town of Boyolali with volcanic ash.
The ash shower hit Selo district badly, forcing hundreds of residents of its two villages — Stabelan and Tlogolele — to leave their houses and stay at shelters.
The first eruption occurred around 8.24 p.m., while the second eruption occurred 21 minutes later.
“They came here at around 9 p.m., after the eruption. There are 580 of them,” said Bambang Sinung, head of the Boyolali Regional Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD).
Bambang said the need for surgical masks had become critical in the shelters because the intensity of eruptions had been more frequent.
“Especially today [Friday] there were three eruptions. More volcanic dust was emitted,” he said.
The Boyolali regional government has prepared a location for evacuation, not only for the people but also for the thousands of farm animals they own.
Kurniawan Fajar Prasetyo, head of emergency affairs for BPBD, said the evacuation shelter areas were based on sister villages.
“People of Samiran Village in Selo District, for example, will be evacuated to Mudal Village in downtown Boyolali,” he said.
In the sister villages, evacuees and their animals will be sheltered at people’s homes.
Boyolali was hit by volcanic ash on Friday morning after Merapi erupted, emitting a 6,000-meter-high eruption column to the northwest. (gis/ahw)